Throughout the winter, WTIP speaks to members of our local sled dog racing community. One musher we didn’t speak to this season was Mary Manning from Doodle Dog Kennels in Hovland, so we reached out to Mary for an end-of-season update.
In particular, WTIP wanted to know about Manning’s John Beargrease Sled Dog Race because she withdrew from that race at the Sawbill Checkpoint at about 120 miles – an early finish to that race. At the time of the race, Manning assured WTIP that everything was fine, but they pulled out because the dogs were stressed by the trail conditions. She said the trail was good in many ways – the weather was nice for mushers and handlers. However, the hard packed trail was tough on the dogs, especially when stepping off the packed trail into the soft snow on the side of the trail.
Manning said she wants to make sure her dogs are healthy for future runs and for the rest of her racing career. None of the injuries were significant, but a few dogs were treated by the vet and underwent cold laser therapy. She said they have recovered well and everyone looks happy and alert.
The dogs were ready to run again and Doodle Dog Kennels took part in the Midnight Run in Marquette. Manning said they competed in the 100-mile race there. She said it was a lot of fun and good for her younger dogs, Manning said.
We spoke to Manning at the end of April when it was snowing intermittently. She said the dogs do short runs at home for spring training.
Here is Manning’s conversation with WTIP’s Rhonda Silence.